NBA allegedly controlling media as it refutes Paul Allen story

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Paul Allen did not come across very well after all was said and done on Thursday after the NBA negotiations fell apart broke apart blew apart like a soda can with a pound of C4 inside it. One writer outlined Allen’s history of random and reckless spending and decision making, another suggested that Allen may be on the way out and looking to improve his sale price, while also not caring about offending the players. It was Allen who was allegedly brought in to pull the NBA back from the brink of compromise on behalf of the hard-line owners.

On Friday, the NBA decided to respond to those allegations, in a conversation between Adam Silver and the Oregonian. 

“I do not understand why his presence has taken on a life of its own as if he was sent in to deliver a message to the players,” Silver said.

“Paul is in the same position as every other owner. He wants a system where every team is in a position to compete for a championship and every team, if managed properly, has a chance to make a profit.

“In no way was his presence intended to send a message.”

via Paul Allen takes center stage in NBA labor dispute | OregonLive.com.

Blazers president Larry Miller also told the paper that the Blazers are “absolutely not for sale.”

Well, that clears up.  A nice, friendly round of damage control and clarification with the Blazers beat writers and… wait, what? What’s that?

Oh, dear.

Note: NBA/Blazers insisted Silver interview be w/biz guy not one of the Blazers beat guys. Said they’d go to other publication if not.Sat Oct 22 08:39:42 via TweetDeck

Here, let me just let Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge.com and CBSSports.com handle this.

Yes, you read that correctly. The NBA just allegedly disputed that one of their owners issued a “take it or leave it” ultimatum to the players by issuing a “take it our leave it” ultimatum to a newspaper. They allegedly decided to make it clear that Allen didn’t issue a statement that pre-conditioned the negotiations by pre-conditioning their disputed account. They allegedly defended Allen from charges of a “my way or the highway” attitude by threatening the paper with the most basic “my way or the highway” tactic known to media.

via NBA disputes Paul Allen reports, digs deeper – CBSSports.com.

The NBA is trying to fight what it feels are misrepresentations of its opinions and the behavior in these sessions. They’re faced with an uphill battle against a media that in their mind is unfairly taking the side of the players. They’re trying to do the best they can with limited resources while maintaining a general wall against transparency in order to keep negotiations confidential. That’s part of what was so stunning about Hunter’s revelations on Thursday. It pulled back the curtain, which neither side wants because in tense situations, people say things that aren’t going to look right in public without context. And so the NBA is trying to clear this up as quickly and quietly as possible. And that’s a reasonable position.

It’s just that they kind of suck at it. Not really badly, and not as badly as I would suck at it, and not as badly as the players have sucked at getting their message across, but still. This comes across as bullying. It’s just trying to keep things in perspective and control the story as much as possible to avoid damage. But giving media outlets ultimatums? That’s a bad look. The media’s got no league to cover, so it’s jumping on everything (he said mid-jump). Talking to the Oregonian to clear up concerns about a possible sale and to lessen the damage of Allen looking like a bad guy? Good idea!

Doing it by demanding that only the business writer and none of the beat writers be involved? Bad idea.

This concludes your lockout “what the hell” story of the day. Join us tomorrow for what we’re sure will be the players’ turn!

(HT: EOB)

Jeremy Lin says “at times it kind of sucks” being only Asian-American in NBA

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When Jeremy Lin landed in Toronto — after being bought out and waived by the Hawks, clearing the way for him to sign with the Raptors for the playoff push — the number of cameras and reporters in the Raptors locker room instantly ballooned. Lin remains one of the most popular players worldwide in the NBA, he’s a social media phenom, and there are cameras there to track his every move and send it around the world, particularly back to Asia.

Lin isn’t in the NBA because he’s famous and sells tickets — he’s a quality guard who can help a team, there’s a reason the contending Raptors picked him up — but he inhabits the role of both player and groundbreaker.

Lin talked about that (and Asians in popular culture) with Cary Chow of the Undefeated in an interesting Q&A at The Undefeated, where he said being the only Asian-American in the NBA is not easy.

At times it kind of sucks. At other times it’s amazing. Amazing because you get to challenge everyone’s viewpoints and perspectives. I’m rooting for so many more Asians to come in. Last year, when I was with Brooklyn and we had Ding [Yanyuhang] on the summer league team, I was like, ‘Dude, please make the team. We’d have so much fun together during the season.’

On the feeling that he has to represent an entire race.

Yeah. At first it was something I ran from and really struggled with. Now I embrace it way more and am more equipped to handle it. I’m not perfect, but I kind of know who I want to be at this point in my career, so I keep trucking along and doing things the right way and stay above all the distractions.

Lin has handled his fame deftly over the years. He has challenges and opportunities not open to other players, and that’s the balancing act. It takes someone smart, but also grounded and balanced to pull it all off. The Raptors got all that, along with the extra cameras around the team.

Mostly, though, the Raptors got a player who is going to help them make a deep playoff run.

 

Rudy Gobert re-energized ahead of Jazz at Thunder

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ASSOCIATED PRESS — Rudy Gobert didn’t hide his disappointment at not making the NBA All-Star Game for the first time despite averaging 15.2 points and 12.9 rebounds while leading the league in field-goal percentage.

But coming off the 10-day break, the Utah Jazz center says he’s re-energized heading into Friday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Just recharge, completely — mentally, physically,” Gobert said. “For me, I was able to get a little bit of sun and feel a lot better when I get back.

“The next two months, I feel like, will be a lot better.”

The Jazz, who have won 13 of their last 16 games, come out of the break sixth in the Western Conference but with one of the NBA’s easiest schedules down the stretch.

Utah plays just eight of its final 25 games against teams that are above .500.

One of those, though, is Friday night’s game in Oklahoma City, which sits third in the West after winning 11 of 13 before the break.

The Thunder, on the other hand, have one of the league’s most challenging schedules moving forward. Oklahoma City plays 17 of its remaining 25 games against teams above .500 including each of the first five out of the break.

The Thunder have won the first two meetings between the teams, including a 122-113 win on Dec. 10 in Oklahoma City.

An Oklahoma City win would clinch the season series for the Thunder after Utah eliminated Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs last season.

The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has a streak of 10 consecutive triple-doubles. During that stretch, he’s averaged 21.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 13.5 assists.

Utah is hopeful backup point guard Dante Exum, who has missed the last 17 games with a left ankle sprain, will be able to return against the Thunder.

“I think when he’s playing well, he can have a big impact for us and having him back soon is going to help us a lot,” Gobert said.

The Thunder could have forward Markieff Morris available for the first time. Morris signed with Oklahoma City over the All-Star break after being waived by New Orleans following his trade from Washington on Feb. 7.

Morris was averaging 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Wizards this season before suffering a neck injury in late December that has kept him out since. Morris was cleared to play two weeks ago.

“We got a big piece in Markieff that we’re excited for, and we’re going to be ready for the second half after this break,” Oklahoma City’s Paul George said.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said, “We’ll see,” when asked Thursday if Morris would play against the Jazz.

The Thunder also figure to have both starting forward Jerami Grant and backup point guard Dennis Schroder back after each missed the last two games before the break, Grant with an ankle injury and Schroder after the birth of his child.

Friday’s game is the start of a back-to-back for both teams, with the Jazz hosting Dallas on Saturday and Oklahoma City hosting Sacramento.

 

Raptors fans welcome DeMar DeRozan back with loud, standing ovation

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DeMar DeRozan was the greatest Raptor ever. He was an All-Star, he presided over the best seasons in franchise history, and he’s the one guy who re-signed and stood up for a city that has an inferiority complex around its basketball team.

Toronto fans understood the trade that brought Kawhi Leonard to the team — it’s an upgrade on the court — but their love for DeRozan is real.

They showed that on Friday night when DeRozan returned to Toronto for the first time as a member of the Spurs — he got a raucous ovation upon his introduction.

Early in the game he gave them a taste of what he did for them for years, getting the and-1 bucket on the drive.

Marcus Smart hits halfcourt shot at practice, celebrates with a back flip

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The celebration is more impressive than the shot.

After a tough loss to Milwaukee on Thursday, the Celtics traveled to Chicago to take on the Bulls on Saturday. Friday they had a practice in the Northwestern University facility.

It’s there Marcus Smart drains a halfcourt shot. Impressive. But not nearly as impressive as the backflip celebration.

I did not know Smart had that in him.